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Off the Top of My Head

With so much buzz about what Edmonton Oilers’ GM Ken Holland might do to address his goaltending situation, and having touched on the free agent market last week, I’m wondering when Holland might pick up the phone and talk to Pittsburgh Penguins’ GM Jim Rutherford about Matt Murray and Tristan Jarry.

Rutherford has already talked about the possibility of moving one of them. With reports he has already taken a call from Minnesota’s Bill Guerin, among others, the time might be right for Holland, looking for an upgrade on the tandem of Mikko Koskinen and Mike Smith, to make an inquiry. Maybe he has already.

“We know that there’s a very, very good chance that we’re going to have to move one of them,” Rutherford told Josh Yohe of The Athletic in the last few days. There is already interest. And it looks like we’re going to have to move one of them.”

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Unless Rutherford trades one of Murray or Jarry, something that will surely land him a decent return, he risks losing one of them for nothing to the Seattle Kraken in the Expansion Draft. Murray is by far the more proven of the two and is coming off a contract that paid him an AAV of $3.75 million. Jarry has just 63 games on his NHL resume, but is cheaper after playing for $675,000 this season.

Murray, 26, a two-time Stanley Cup winner, would be a terrific get and could play in front of, behind or in tandem with Koskinen. He wouldn’t break the bank. Jarry, 25, doesn’t have the track record Murray does, but he was the better stopper this season. Might he be ready to step in and establish himself as a clear-cut No. 1 guy?

As always, a significant part of the equation is what the ask from Pittsburgh is. I’m guessing that Rutherford will have a lot of callers looking to find out exactly what that will be. I’d be stunned if Holland isn’t among them. There’s a deal to be made here.

ENOUGH ALREADY

What happened in Kenosha, Wisconsin Sunday has absolutely nothing to do with hockey, but the shock waves from the shooting of Jacob Blake have most certainly spilled over into the world of sports. Blake, 29, was shot multiple times in the back by police officers with three of his children looking on. It’s one of the most sickening scenes you’ll ever see.

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With the death of George Floyd May 25 having ignited the Black Lives Matter movement, the handling of this latest incident – Blake is alive but reportedly paralyzed —  involving at least three officers has prompted several athletes to speak out, including LeBron James.

“It’s what we’ve been talking about,” James said. “And it’s what we’re gonna continue to talk about. Having two boys of my own, and me being an African American in America, and to see what continues to happen with the policy brutality towards my kind, continue to see what goes on with the injustice — it’s very troubling. It’s very troubling.” Members of the Toronto Raptors were also among those to react.

I can’t walk in the shoes of anybody in the black community, but it isn’t difficult to understand the fear and frustration that’s boiled to the surface again and to know that we’ve still got a long way to go to make things right. “We are scared as Black people in America,” said James. “Black men, Black women, Black kids. We are terrified.”

WHILE I’M AT IT

A tap of the stick to Minnesota’s Mark Sertich, listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s oldest hockey player, who passed away this week at the age of 99 after having a stroke in July.

Sertich, a father of seven who lived in West Duluth, played youth hockey growing up before serving in World War 11. He got back in the game upon returning home in 1945 and played in one league or another up until his 99th birthday last month. The story is here.

AND . . . After much delay, the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation will be announcing the winner of that huge 50-50 jackpot tomorrow at 4 p.m.

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Previously by Robin Brownlee